Battle of the Brushes

2015 Battle of the Brushes header

Make-ups by (FROM LEFT) Dick Smith, Claudia for Ben Nye, Mark Coulier, Sharon and Gloria Holloway, Odd Studio and Christopher Milone. Tilda Swinton as Madame D in The Grand Budapest Hotel photo courtesy of Coulier and Fox Searchlight Pictures. All other photos MA archive

Are you serious about becoming a professional make-up artist? Competing in the IMATS Battle of the Brushes can give your career a huge boost. Competitors’ work is seen not only by industry leaders attending the shows, but also by thousands of social-media users following the show.  Finalists also get a chance for international exposure by having their art featured in IMATS ad campaigns and show graphics. Additionally, the shows give competitors the chance to network in person with the pros doing the hiring. And the cash and prizes from participating exhibitors certainly don’t hurt!

The competition is open to students of recognized make-up schools and to those who have graduated 12 months prior to the competition date.

After a blind judging for each show, the Make-Up Artist magazine staff selects eight finalists in the beauty/fantasy category and eight in the character/prosthetic category, plus a runner-up for each. Finalists and their models receive free passes for both days of IMATS. The staff chooses a theme for each category every year.

Competitors in the three-hour character/prosthetic category are given prosthetics on the morning of the competition, which they must incorporate into their designs. Only prosthetics provided by IMATS are allowed. Our 2015 character/prosthetic theme is Age Make-up Challenge (in honor of Dick Smith, the godfather of make-up).

The 2015 beauty/fantasy category theme is Historical Beauty Trends (for example: Flapper, mod, hippie, New Wave, punk, etc.). Looks can be from any period before 1990. Finalists have two hours to complete a look.

In both categories, finalists may bring a sheet of paper with photos and a two-sentence description of their artistic inspirations to present to the judges. Character competitors should bring a “before” photo of their models.

IMATS/Make-Up Artist magazine will only accept competition entries postmarked by April 13, 2015. Finalist results will be announced the week of May 18, 2015.

Throughout the weekend, guests are encouraged to cheer on the students as they race to complete winning looks and as their models walk the awards stage.

Visit the Students page for details on the Make-up Schools Directory and the Make-Up Artist Educator/Student Card.

To qualify, you must fill out and send us the entry form, along with 8-10 photos of different looks you have done. Photos don’t have to represent the make-up you plan to enter in the competition. All entries, photos and artwork become the non-returnable property of Key Publishing Group. Please do not email your entry.

Mail entries to:

Heather Wisner, student competition director
Make-Up Artist magazine
12808 NE 95th St.
Vancouver, WA 98682 USA
Phone: 360-882-3488, ext. 106
Email: [email protected]

"It definitely helped my career tremendously. It's very much like the real world, working in a trailer and trying to get someone on set." – Patrick Magee, IMATS Los Angeles 2000 first-place winner for both categories; he has since worked on Men in Black 3, AVP: Alien vs. Predator and Spider-Man

Battle of the Brushes Sponsor

Thank you to the IMATS London 2015 sponsor listed below. Follow the link to the company's website.

Character prosthetics provided by:
Rubber Wear by Sticks and Stones  

Character/prosthetic category sponsored by:
TEMPTU Pro

Beauty/fantasy category sponsored by:
Make-Up Artist magazine

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